Christmas Day

they sit around a murdered bird;
there’s too much food,
Mam’s forcing roast potatoes
on Frankie’s plate – he pushes it away.
Dad explodes:
I’m sick a yee!
Yer twisty-faced, ungrateful little –
Micky! Mam pleads,
he ignores her, full of drink:
Pull yersel together. God!
Anyone would think
this is a bloody Wake,
not a family holiday.
Frankie’s eyes fill,
he leaves the table,
runs up to his bedroom
pull the covers over his head.

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Christmas Shopping

It’s the most depressing time of year
Frankie hates it – all the false cheer
the stupid Santas, cutesy reindeer.

A bunch of drunken men, waving pints of beer
wandering in the road shout Poof and Queer!
Corinne pulls his arm: Let’s go in here.

She drags him out the rear of the shop
he’s shaking, in shame and fear:
I just want to go home.
He’s in tears.

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Frankie can’t wake up

He’s tired because he was up late
watching TV

Because he took drugs all weekend

Because he went to bed early

Because he had to get up for school.
He looks at his clothes and shoes
waiting to be put on
they make him feel tired.
Mam brings him a cup of tea
he’s too tired to drink it.

The grey sky out his window
makes him want to stay in bed,
the bare trees make him want to cry.

He doesn’t understand anything
and that makes him feel
tired to death.

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Frankie can’t sleep

he falls back down the well
of dark – fear and worry and pain
wants to switch off his brain
forget his history, this hell:

starting with Derek, that first kiss
the dressing up, kid’s games,
the time dad caught him playing skippy,
the bullying, the lads who call him names

his failure with Becca in bed
what happened in the hostel, with Ned
He wants to erase himself with pain
the dark to swallow his brain.

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Frankie wonders

why he does it,
worries, wants to stop
but a taunt at school
an insult in the street
will send him back
to the soothing pain.
He watches the washing
blowing on the line
he sees a shirt
waving it’s arms
like a drowning man.

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He waits

finds a moment
when the house is still.
Mam’s out, Dad’s with her.
Paddy’s with his pals.
Frankie makes a nick in his vein
thick red treacles out
he slices again and again
gets a woozy high
he’s cleaning inside himself,
making neat lanes
of scars. He chooses skin
that’s covered up
so no-one sees
the mess he’s in:
the upper arms
the tops of his thighs
all criss crossed
with thin red lines.
He feels ashamed
but can’t stop
this can’t be wrong
it helps him feel sane.

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Suicide Tuesday

Frankie’s got the midweek blues –
can’t think straight, depressed, cabbaged
totalled, in bed, needing tac
to get himself going again.
He rolls a thin one,
smokes it out the window,
then slips into the bathroom
when no-one’s around.
Looking in the mirror
he leans forward, checks his skin
pulls down an eye lid
stretches his lips into a grin
examines his teeth and tongue
he frowns – why am I so wrong?

From the mirror
a boy looks back
Frank watches him
judging what he sees
he mouths Tosser
Coward, whispers
Frank hates him
he opens the cabinet door
makes him disappear
gets out the razor
rolls up his sleeve
hesitates –
Paddy hammers on the door:
What yer deein in there?
I’m dying fer a piss.
He puts the razor back, walks out
looking guilty. Though he’s done
nothing this time, he knows
he will.

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Big Dipper

Frankie’s in freefall
spliffs, vodka, E and special K
he’s bought his ticket
to ride:
the adrenalin highs
the stomach lurching lows,
it goes so fast he has no time
to brood or wonder.
He tells Corinne:
It’s like I’m Hot
red, awake – sweet.
It stops me thinkin
stops me feelin
stops me hatin meself.
What’s wrong wi me?

Corinne says:
I’ll tell ye what’s wrong wi ye
ye’ve gone off it.
Frankie – if yer spend
all weekend getting totally mashed.
you’ll come down
big time, sometime soon.

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His mouth is minging
his eyes red, stinging
his ears are still ringing
from the riot of last night

his hands are shaking
he drops the milk bottle as he’s taking it
out of the fridge, it’s breaking
into shards of bright glass

bending down to pick it up
his hand bubbles red, he’s cut
skin without feeling a thing.
He watches as the blood flows.

He calls on Corinne
Dad’s up a height,
will ye stick a plaster on this?
Where did ye get to last night?
I met Mac – I took some Ketamine.
He grins, Corinne rolls her eyes
I feel like shite today,
but yer kna what?
I feel like doin it all again.
Oh God Frankie man.

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